One morning last week I walked to my garden to check on my Knockout roses. I was so excited to see if they had any new buds. There were no new buds, instead I saw that both bushes had been clipped to within 5 inches of the ground and the clipped branches were sitting haphazardly around the bushes...what in the world had happened? I was upset…
Once inside my house I placed the clipped branches in a vase—I’d might as well enjoy the roses inside if I couldn’t outside—then I started my search on the cause of the destruction. I googled around for a while and discovered that rabbits, squirrels, and deer are known to debranch Knockout roses. I was fairly certain it wasn’t a deer, as I didn’t see any deer prints in the soil, so it must have been a rabbit or squirrel that had been trimming by roses. I’ve never seen a rabbit in my yard, but red squirrels I have in abundance.
I knew that killing the red squirrel(s) wasn’t an option for me! The squirrel was only trying to eat a delicious meal, but I wanted him to enjoy his meals in a different location. From past experience—with a woodchuck—I knew about Havahart traps, which humanely capture nuisance animals. So off to Home Depot I went, and purchased a small Havahart two door trap. I used peanut butter, honey nut cheerios, and a sliced up strawberry to bait the trap. I placed it next to one of my, now very sad looking, rose bushes and hoped for the best.
The next morning much to my delight and dismay I had captured a chipmunk. I was happy to have trapped something, but not quite sure of the best place for his new home and the safest way to do it. The instructions included with the Havahart trap suggested covering the cage with a towel to calm the animal for transportation to its new home. After some thought I decided to relocate him—the chipmunk— to a beautiful piece of land about 7 miles away from my home. It has a stream for water and apple trees for him to eat. After a short drive, when I removed the towel covering and opened the trap doors he quickly ran out of the cage and up the apple tree
Since my first relocation, I have moved an additional chipmunk, a red squirrel, and a mouse to the same piece of land. Four captures and releases in 3 days—not bad for a beginner! I am happy to have them gone and hope my Knockout roses recover quickly. I have added some perennials to the garden and hope no one decides they look good enough to eat!